The Artisan Alchemist
For centuries, the alchemist was called upon to change simple earth elements into gold, silver or other precious metals. The tradition is carried forth by the Artisan Alchemist who begins with a common substance - clay - and turns it into pure copper, pure bronze or pure silver (.999% silver). Called precious metal clay, it is infused with micro particles and worked by molding, carving and sculpting until an object with an intricate design takes shape. It is then fired in a kiln at 1500-1800 degrees. At this temperature, the clay burns off. What remains is pure copper, bronze or silver, in the shape of the sculpted piece, and ready for embellishment.
I have spent my whole life in the arts, creating and supporting artistic endeavors and heritage preservation. For 35 years I was the executive director of a "cutting-edge" cultural and heritage commission in New Jersey.
Now, as the Artisan Alchemist, I continue to celebrate tradition and cultural legacies. My work is influenced by world cultures; pieces reflect, for instance, patterns such as Victorian lace and historical Hittite tapestry. Thus, my life continues in the arts, but is now filled with sculpting tools, sanders, patinas, enamels, crystal beads and precious stones, and turning earthly elements into one-of-a-kind creations.
~Anna Aschkenes, The Artisan Alchemist